Michael Moore is famous for his documentaries that attack institutions, such as the gun lobby, our government and the health care industry in the US. He takes a lighter tone, now, as he proudly carries the American flag to other countries to glean out the best in their social systems and claim them for the U.S. of A in “Where to Invade Next.”
I have always looked forward to Michael Moore documentaries over from the beginning with “Roger & Me (1989).” The filmmaker has opened eyes with subjects such as September 11, 2001 (“Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)” and the state of the American health care system (“Sicko (2007).” His films, to me, are always informative but feel given from a pulpit, preaching down to us mere mortals.
“Where to Invade Next” represents a different tack for the documentarian, still preaching but with a touch of mirth. He travels to Norway, Finland, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Iceland, Germany Tunis and France and cherry picks some individual aspect of each country – health care, pay equality, vacation and maternity leave, free education, nutrition for kids in school and prison reform. He does not, though, delve into the foibles of those countries and compare them to us.
As such, though there is more humor here than the usual Moore doc, he still hits us over the head with his ongoing treatise on what is wrong with America. You may agree with him but, still, you might want to just say, “Shut Up!” I give it a B-.
In "Where to Invade Next," Michael Moore pretends he's been consulted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff because we haven't won a war since the big one. But the title and the kickoff are misleading, as Moore informs us he's invading countries 'whose names I can mostly pronounce' where he'll take what we need and bring it back to the U.S.
And so he's off to France to check out the school cafeteria and sex education, Italy to admire their time off from work, Norway for its more liberal and relaxed ideas of maximum security prisons, Germany for its ability to learn from its own past, Portugal for its cease fire on drugs and Tunisia for its free women's health care. There's just one problem. Moore's excused himself from basic journalistic rigor by declaring he's only interested in 'picking flowers not weeds.'
Michael Moore is an honorable activist, but a lazy, even deceitful filmmaker. He would have Italians think that Americans receive no vacation time at all, those lucky enough to score getting two weeks if they're 'enormously lucky,' four weeks unheard of. This is, in a word, bs. How can he laud Germans for learning from their past without examining recent conflicts, even neo-Nazism, brought on by immigration? How does he expect to get away with comparing Norway's one mass killing with 9/11?
With "Where to Invade Next" Moore brings good, socialistic ideas to the table, but the filmmaker walks away, leaving someone else to do the cleanup.
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